Ohio State basketball upset No. 1 Michigan State on Sunday in Columbus, giving the Buckeyes a huge data point to present to the NCAA Tournament selection committee in Chris Holtmann’s first season.
Ohio State hasn’t been so balanced recently, as football has been a consistent national title contender while basketball didn’t even make the NIT last season after making the national championship game back in 2007 and making the Final Four in 2012.
As Michigan State’s coach, Tom Izzo has a unique vantage point at a school that regularly competes for first place in basketball and football.
After the game, a reporter asked Izzo whether Ohio State basketball should play at the top of the league when things go right. His answer was a lengthy one:
With the AD they got, the facilities they got, I don’t think there’s any question. And I think for the most part Thad [Matta] had it here. He played in Final Fours, it was a tough go last year. Sometimes when you get caught with kids leaving early and the way things go, you take kids who shouldn’t take. I’ve done that too in my career, and it destroys a lot of things. And you add those two injuries, and if you really look back on the number of games they were right in and just couldn’t get over the hump. I thought he did a great job and I think, Chris [Holtmann], he left him something nice to work with and he’s done a nice job of caring that. But Ohio State, are you kidding me? With the fan base, we’ve proven you can have a good football team and a good basketball team. And I think Ohio State , they’ve been a good basketball program and I see no reason why they can’t build on that even more. It’s a great administration, great support like they have here there’s no reason why they can’t.
The path to contending in Big Ten basketball doesn’t appear to be too complicated for Ohio State. Holtmann has four recruits committed for next season, and his class ranks 19th in the country on 247Sports’ team rankings.